The Short Report – Feb 10, 2021: Pilot program to recycle COVID-19 face masks, UVIC divests from fossil fuels, MS Society tests type-2 diabetes drug, and more

Cindy Graham
February 10, 2021


McMaster University, University of British Columbia and Vancouver-based Vitacore Industries are piloting a program to allow frontline healthcare workers to recycle their single-use face masks and CAN95 respirators before being collected, sterilized, broken down and re-pelletized. Vitacore was created in British Columbia by Canadian innovators to support Canadian healthcare professionals during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. – Cision

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada together with the Stem Cell Network and Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine are investing $1 million in a pilot clinical trial that will investigate the use of metformin, a commonly-used type 2 diabetes drug, as a therapy for children and young adults with multiple sclerosis. – MS Society of Canada


Protein Industries Canada (Regina), Enhanced Medical Nutrition (Toronto), and Infinit Nutrition Canada (Windsor) are co-investing $2.2 million to develop a novel plant-based protein blend to meet the needs of consumers for whom sufficient protein intake is a challenge, such as those recovering from surgery, the critically ill and athletes building muscle mass. – Protein Industries Canada

The University of Victoria is the latest Canadian university to cut fossil fuels from its investment portfolio. The university transferred $80 million to a short-term bond fund to reduce the carbon intensity of its investments after the approval of a policy last year to lower carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030. – UVic

ImmunoFlex (Vancouver) is receiving conditional funding from the National Research Council of Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) for a Phase 4 clinical trial for a pharmaceutical-grade natural health product targeted at strengthening the body’s immune system. The company is now recruiting patients for the clinical trial. – Cision

The Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia are investing more than $44 million in projects that take advantage of Nova Scotia’s growth potential in the fish and seafood sector. Eligible projects must focus on innovation to support R&D, infrastructure to adopt or adapt new technologies and processes, and science partnerships between academia and industry. – GoC

Sandpiper Ventures (Halifax), a venture capital firm focusing on women-led initiatives in Nova Scotia, will receive $5 million from the Nova Scotia government to boost women-led entrepreneurship and innovation in what is hoped to be a catalyst for future funding of female entrepreneurs, and a tool to develop the province’s digital technology and startup ecosystem. – Government of Nova Scotia

The Forestry Innovation Transition Trust is funding three projects that will give ecologically-focused businesses access to expertise. Innovation Hub of Nova Scotia will receive $921,000 to help forestry-related bioeconomy clients overcome technical and business hurdles at the pre-commercial stage; Cape Breton University’s Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment will use $672,500 to develop a forestry and biomass acceleration technology centre, and Genome Atlantic will receive $315,500 over four years to support The Atlantic Tree Improvement Council in producing more resilient, commercially important tree species in the province. – Government of NS

An artificial intelligent-powered ChatBot that offers free, timely, user-friendly access to intellectual property (IP)-related information and assistance has been launched by York University’s IP Osgoode Innovation Clinic, providing a resource for startups, entrepreneurs and innovators. Funding for development of the tool was provided by Innovation, Science and Economic Development through its National IP Clinics Program. – Osgoode

The Ontario government will be providing more than $690,000 in funding to support R&D in mineral and mining prospects at Lakehead University as well as a new Industrial Research Chair in Mineral Exploration led by Dr. Peter Hollings. – Government of Ontario

University of Waterloo and the National Research Council are collaborating on R&D and commercialization of metal additive manufacturing (AM) so businesses can capitalize on metal 3D printing technologies, which is hindered by the dearth and prohibitive cost of metal powders. The NRC awarded close to $2.6 million worth of equipment to UWaterloo’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster Support program to support the project, which will run for at least seven years. – Canadian Metalworking

Cricket producer Entomo Farms based in Norwood, Ontario, has closed a fundraising round of $3.7 million. The funding will be used to expand operations to meet the growing demand for cricket powders and whole roasted insects as protein alternatives to traditional meat and plant-based proteins. – Cision


The first annual Ontario AI Snapshot report by the Vector Institute found that Ontario’s AI ecosystem is strong and well-positioned for resilience and growth. Among the highlights: Between $97 million and $824 million spent on AI R&D; $1.9 billion in venture capital investment; 32 new Ontario AI companies, and a research community that expanded from a few founding faculty to over 500 researchers. – Vector Institute


Dr. Cheryl Gladu has been appointed full-time researcher-in-residence for the city of Kamloops as part of a joint pilot project between the municipality and Thompson Rivers University. The project, funded in part by Mitacs, will see Gladu developing research-based solutions for the community that could include economic recovery from COVID-19, response to vulnerable population needs in the community and future planning for the cultural sector. – Castanet

The Canada Council for the Arts has announced the 2021 Killam Prize Winners. This year’s winners include Université de Montréal’s Michel Bouvier (Health Sciences), York University political science professor Stephen Gill (Social Sciences), HEC Montréal’s Gilbert Laporte (Engineering) and University of Toronto’s Arthur Ripstein (Humanities). – Canada Council

Simon Fraser University is looking for its next vice-president, research and international, a position currently filled by interim VP, R&I Dugan O’Neil, who served as SFU’s associate vice-president, research from 2017-2020. – SFU LinkedIn

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